In Bloodborne for PlayStation 4, the ruined city of Yharnam (pronounced Yar-num) is home to a variety of nasty weapon-wielding adversaries, and while there’s plenty to contend with topside, between the intimidating Cleric Beast, Darkbeast and Hunter Mob, you’ll soon discover an intricately designed network of tunnels below ground that developer From Software refers to as Chalice Dungeons. What makes them intriguing, aside from the possibility of scoring treasure for making it out alive, is the fact that the game procedurally generates these places each time you go adventuring. One moment you’ll wander through a creepy swamp, and the next you step into a great hall, complete with attention-grabbing architecture and fancy chandeliers.
Even better, you can play solo or invite other players, and you don’t have to remain close to each other the whole time. Team up attacks will help you dispose of bad guys much quicker than tackling monsters by yourself, but if splitting up seems like a good idea, a little separation may not hurt.
Bringing friends along is perhaps a wise decision, considering the types of enemies you’ll encounter within a Chalice Dungeon. For starters there’s a rather large Ancient Guard Dog clad in flames and tough armor that’s difficult to penetrate; he’s huge. Later, you may run into a tall creature that is able to light the ground on fire each time its appendage strikes the floor; while scary looking, a powerful weapon like a hammer will let you bring this guy down in no time.
From there we have the Ritual Masters, creepy occultists that are said to perform a ritual no one’s seen and lived to discuss. Should you escape those aforementioned terrors, you’ll eventually contend with Protectors, pale-sinked behemoths with sunken eyeballs. We doubt they are the fastest of creatures, but can still do serious damage with the blunt instruments they carry.
Even if you somehow hold an advantage over these enemies, you’ll still need to be on the lookout for blood-covered guillotine blades, and that is but one trap set to spring at any moment.
Apparently you gain access to a dungeon by performing a ritual with a holy chalice, hence the name. Each time the location changes, and from there, you can upload a particular dungeon for others to wander through, and vice versa.
What remains to be seen is the number of variations across several dungeons. Will each Chalice Dungeon feel like a fresh experience, or will From Software recycle a handful of areas, then string these places together in a different order? Providing there’s enough variety (downloadable content would have huge potential), this may stand apart from the single player campaign and offer gamers a fun distraction. We’ll learn more when Bloodborne debuts for PS4 on March 24.